|Wilt Chamberlain||Michael Jordan|
|Regular Season Records||56||4|
|Number of scoring championships||7||10|
|Number of 50+ point games||119||30|
|Number of times led league in assists, fg%, minutes, and rebounds*||29||0|
Who is the more dominating individual? (*Blocks
and steals were not recorded until after Chamberlain retired)
Wilt Chamberlain Chamberlain re-wrote the record books and dominated like no player before or since. His first year in the league, he set rebounding and scoring records that no OTHER player before or since has broken. Wilt set so many records and put up such outrageous numbers that they began to lose meaning. If LeBron James scores 50, it's headlines on ESPN. Wilt averaged 50 for an entire season. It was just another day at the office for him. Let's analyze Wilt's game:
Scoring: Wilt is simply the greatest scorer ever. Jordan fans will claim that because Jordan averages less than 0.5 points per game more for his career, this makes him better. However, they don't consider that Jordan didn't log in as many career minutes, nor as many minutes per game. When both men put their minds to scoring, it's not even close. Wilt once AVERAGED 50.4 ppg. Jordan's best season is 37.1 ppg - a number Wilt bested on 3 different occasions. Jordan never had a 70 point game. Wilt had 6 games with at least 70. Wilt's best game is 100 points. Wilt won 7 consecutive scoring titles, which is the same number as Jordan's best streak. The only reason Wilt quit winning scoring titles is because his coach asked him to pass off more (Wilt was already in the top 10 in the league in assists). Wilt gladly did and he and 3 of his teammates each put up over 18 ppg the next season, on their way to the title. Wilt has almost 80 more games with 50+ points than Jordan. Wilt also holds the record for most free throws made in a game (28), most field goals made in a game without a miss (18), most consecutive field goals without a miss (35), best field goal % in a season (nearly 73%), most times leading the league in fg% (9), most consecutive games with 40+ points scored (14),
He won seven scoring titles, 11 rebounding titles, and led the league in minutes played 8 times. He averaged over 45 minutes per game every game of his career. In 1967-68 he led the league in assists something Jordan has never came close to doing. Chamberlain holds the records for points scored in a season and a game (100), rebounds in a game (55), season, and career., as well as minutes played in a season (he averaged 48.5 min/game in 1961-62), and field goal percentage in a season (72.7%).
Rebounding: Again, Wilt dominated the record books. Most rebounds in a game (55 - against Bill Russell). Best rebounding average in a season (27.2), and best career rebounding average (22.9), most seasons leading the league in rebounding (11). Detractors will claim the artificial numbers are because Wilt played a lot of minutes and there were more rebounds to be had than when, say, Dennis Rodman played. However, consider that Wilt played a lot of minutes because he was durable and had stamina. It's not his fault that other players lack his stamina. As far as available rebounds, this is true, but Wilt had to expend a lot of energy on the offensive end. A guy like Dennis Rodman was worthless on offense. He simply camped out and cherry-picked. He was never the focal point of offense. He wasn't even the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th option, and to use available rebounds means you are comparing players to their peers. Doing this still shows Wilt's greatness, as Rodman only led the league in rebounding 7 times - 4 less than Wilt.
Michael Jordan was a very good rebounder at guard, but Wilt was the very best rebounder in history. Jordan was not the greatest rebounding guard in history. Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson are two that immediately stand out as better than Jordan. Even comparing the two players shows Wilt is better.
Passing: Jordan averaged less than 1 assists per game in his career than Wilt. This is paltry when you consider two things. First, Jordan, as a guard, handles the ball much more than Wilt. Since I was fair and compared their rebounding to their peers, rather than to each other (because a center SHOULD have more rebounds than a guard), it is only fair to compare assists to their peers. Wilts 4.4 puts him in elite company at center. He may very well be the best. Jordan's 5.3 is not outstanding for a guard. Please don't say, "But he's a shooting guard". When Jordan played point guard, in 1989, he only averaged 8.0 apg, so John Stockton, Oscar Robertson, and Magic Johnson do not feel threatened. Jordan's assists also went on a downward spiral after 1992.
The second point to consider is how an assists was credited in the 1960s and the 1980s. In the 1960s, if a player received the ball and took one dribble, the passer was NOT awarded an assist. Chet Walker cost Wilt countless assists, because he always took a dribble before laying it in. In the 1980s, the assists ruling was much looser. Along with "scorekeeper's discretion", this guideline was given: if a player receives a pass and makes a direct line to the basket, without altering his course due to a defender, then the passer receives an assists. This means, in theory, that Magic Johnson could inbound the ball to James Worthy, and if Worthy dribbled the length of the court, making a straight line and dunks the ball, then Magic should get an assists. I know it's an extreme case, but the point is, 1980s players received many assists than 1960s players did not. That is why assist averages were higher in the 1980s, even though they were scoring less points. With that in mind, if you normalize their numbers, you see that Wilt's assists were actually higher than Jordan's.
Furthermore, Wilt finished in the top 10 in the league in assists 3 times. In 1968, Wilt led the league in assists (before 1969, rebound, assist, and scoring leaders were determined by totals, rather than average). Wilt remains the only non-guard to ever lead the league in assists. Jordan finished in the top 10 in assists one time (#10 in 1989). Remembering that assists were awarded more generously in Jordan's era than in Wilt's, Jordan best season 8.0 is STILL less than Wilts (8.6).
Defense: This is actually the area that is a push. Both men are considered among the very best defensive players at his position. There really is no way of determining how each rate at their position. I believe Wilt is no better than #2 (Bill Russell is a clear-cut favorite), but after that, Wilt is in the same class with Nate Thurmond, Bill Walton, and Hakeem Olajuwon. Jordan, likewise, is in the top tier of his position, along with players such as Walt Frazier, K.C. Jones, Sidney Moncrief, and Joe Dumars.
Defensive player of the year was not created until 1980. It is safe to assume that Wilt would have won it in 1972 and possibly in 1973, but it's speculation, so it's really pointless. All-defensive teams were not created until 1969.
Final Analysis: Detractors try to attribute Wilt's dominance to height. This is absurd, because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar couldnt equal these feats, despite being taller, and playing against Chamberlain for four seasons. If size mattered, then how come players like Shawn Bradley, Rik Smits, Ralph Sampson, Gheorghe Muresan, Mark Eaton, Yao Ming, or Dikembe Mutombo have never challenged these feats? Wilt had 3 inches on Russell. Ming enjoys almost 5" of height advantage over Shaq, but you don't see him scoring 60 or grabbing 55 rebounds against the Diesel. Furthermore, to use height as an excuse is to say that Jordan needs handicaps to look good. Why not spot him 2 strokes per hole if you golf with him? Furthermore, while they chalk up Chamberlain's rebounding dominance to his height advantage, they cannot explain why he led the league in assists, and Jordan could not.
In addition to re-writing the record books, Chamberlain re-wrote the rule book, as the league passed many rules to try to limit his dominance. Jordan, on the other hand, has been the beneficiary of rules passed to ENHANCE his scoring (hand checks, defined zones, 3-point shot, flagrant fouls).
Jordan-supporters know that Jordans feats cannot match up to Chamberlain's. That is why they always respond with lame excuses and a lot of "yeah buts." The fact is, Wilt Chamberlain was the most dominant player in history. Since you clicked here, your standard of comparing players is by overall dominance, so you can see that Jordan is not the best.
Thank you for playing.
(To read more about Wilt, go to: http://wiltfan.tripod.com)